The Motivations of the French National Front Voters: a Behavioral Political Economy Approach

Francois facchini (University Paris Sorbonne)
Louis Jaeck (Unitd Arab Emirates University)

Abstract: The objective this paper is to explain the motivations of the French NF voters and to analyze how their political beliefs and attitudes spread out throughout the electoral body. Its methodological approach relies on two key theoretical framework: the first comes from the development of behavioral political economy, namely the theory of expressive voting (Hillman 2010), the second is driven by the theory of cognitive rationality (Boudon, 2003;2010) and the concept of justification costs (Facchini, 2016). We show that the growing support for the NF ideas among the French voters occurs because of a fall of the justification costs of their political beliefs. The latter results from two complement phenomenon. First, the number of people who share their views increases, and second because some facts may enhance the development of cognitively biased inference-making between immigration, unemployment and lack of security. Such erroneous causal relationship are widespread among the NF voters. Nonetheless, the NF views and ideas are costly to justify, essentially because social sciences and French moral authorities vigorously and frequently condemn specific arguments made by the party and its leaders.

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